Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 8, 2013

Ex-cop wanted for murder is recalled for finding church's cash


BLUEFIELD — ENID, Okla. — An ex-cop accused of mounting a killing spree against his former colleagues and their families was once lauded for his good deeds when he turned in sackful of cash he found in the street.

Police are searching for Christopher Dorner, an ex-Los Angeles police officer, in connection with a killing spree that apparently targets members of law enforcement and their families.

Police say Dorner, who was fired from the force in 2008, killed Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence, last weekend. Quan was the daughter of a former Los Angeles police captain and worked as an assistant women's basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton. Her fiancé was a campus police officer at the University of Southern California.

Dorner is also accused of shooting and wounding an officer in Corona on Thursday morning and later ambushing two officers in Riverside, killing one of them. In a rambling online manifesto, he has vowed "warfare to those in LAPD uniform."

A decade ago, Dorner was a Navy ensign training at Vance Air Force Base when he and another student pilot were driving into Enid one Sunday afternoon and saw in the middle of the road a bank bag. The two opened the bag to find $7,792 in cash and checks, as well as a deposit slip for the Enid Korean Church of Grace.

In a Nov. 5, 2002, story in the News & Eagle, Dorner recounted their decision to turn over the church's Sunday collection to local police.

"The military stresses integrity," Dorner told the newspaper. "There was a couple of thousand dollars, and if people are willing to give that to a church, it must be pretty important to them."

Dorner said his mother, who raised in La Palma, Calif., had taught him the value of honesty and integrity.

"I didn't work for it, so it's not mine," he said. "And, it was for the church. It's not so much the integrity, but it was someone else's money. I would hope someone would do that for me."

Andrew Baugher, the Marine lieutenant who was with Dorner at the time, explained that the pastor of the church apparently put the bag on top of his car and drove away.

A Navy spokesman confirmed Dormer's involvement in various aviation training units from July 2002 to June 2004, though a spokesman at Vance Air Force Base could not confirm Dorner's service there. Dorner told the newspaper he wanted to fly the SH-60 helicopters the Navy uses for search and rescue and special operations.

Dorner's military career later included assignments with a mobile undersea warfare unit, at naval bases in San Diego, and on temporary duty in Bahrain, according to a Navy spokesman.

His many decorations include a medal for service in Iraq, as well as medals and ribbons for marksmanship. He was honorably discharged from the Naval Reserve as a lieutenant last week and is believed to have stayed on a military base in San Diego as recently as this week.

Since the murders of Quan and Lawrence, Police have responded to be a barrage of reported sightings of Dorner. Early Thursday, Los Angeles police mistakenly shot and wounded two women in a pickup truck that was similar to one he was believed to be driving. Officers later fired on another pickup they believed to be Dorner's; the driver was uninjured.

Police believe Dorner is heavily armed and wearing body armor.

"We're asking our officers to be extraordinarily cautious, just as we're asking the public to be extraordinarily cautious with this guy. He's already demonstrated he has a propensity for shooting innocent people," said LAPD commander Andrew Smith.

Enid police said they received a standard notice about the search for Dorner, but there are no indications he plans to revisit the city.


Details for this story were reported by The Enid, Okla., News & Eagle and The Associated Press.